“Then the 50" size limit is purely to try to get fish to get to their maximum potential. I don't see how you can support a 50" size limit for muskie, but any idea to increase the age structure of bucks or limit harvest is a horrid idea”
Where did I say i supported a 50” size limit? Only if biologically necessary, but I think you will find pretty much every lake with a 50” limit is sustained by stocking so it really is a social issue and terrible comparison in this context.
“Why, in general, do larger deer survive severe winters moreso than smaller deer?Why is the body size bigger in deer as you move from Florida to Ontario?
Bergmann’s Rule, high school biology stuff there.
In the past 50 years, a 5.5 year old buck in most of the state definitely has a large combination of luck and behavior (more nocturnal) that influences their survival. In areas where the majority of deer are passed or where there is little hunting pressure and where there are severe winters and a lot of wolves, it is more than luck some deer get older. Deer are not killed by disease, winter or wolves completely at random - some have adaptations/traits that increase their chance of survival.”
So why would we harvest these animals instead of allowing them to pass their superior genes evolved over the last 50 years? If anything, if your hypothetical scenario was the case, you shouldn’t harvest any old, large bucks. Another question, not to rehash this this, but in some of our past exchanges you stated allowing baiting allows more deer to survive the winter thus increasing productivity. How does this affect natural selection that is all of the sudden of importance in this threads context?
“Natural selection/evolution can happen much faster than "hundreds of thousands of years". When you get situations like severe winters....
Severe winters are nothing new and on average (exceptions I know) have been less severe over the past couple decades...
or a new disease that can potentially kill large numbers of deer, or influxes of wolves that wipe out a large population of the herd,mutations/genetics are selected quicker due to these events.
Wouldn’t the leftover deer the possess these mutations since it happens that fast?
Shooting large numbers of immature deer before they have been exposed to disease or bad winters can potentially lead to outcomes we may not be evaluating appropriately. This has also been shown in lakes and ponds where overharvest of only the largest fish can quickly result in genetic changes (smaller fish genetics are protected and can reproduce more).”
Again why would we harvest these individuals if they are genetically more fit to survive? Does the rancher kill his bulls every year? And even more so, with some sort of genetic response as one of the possible ways out of the CWD problem, why on earth would you shoot an old mature buck in a known CWD area then if this was the case? Perhaps he has the immunity gene but can’t pass it on hanging on a wall. In reality, any thoughts of affecting the genetic fitness of a wild free ranging deer herd through selective harvest or regulation is laughable.